1969 MR. OLYMPIA REPORT
Excerpted from the December 1970 edition of Muscle Builder
The sound of slow hand-clapping catches our ears. The impatient audience is expressing the urgent expectation that grips every man in the theatre. Bud Parker’s voice restores some semblance of order. “Arnold Schwarzenegger will now pose for the title of Mr. Olympia 1969!“
The Arnold who now stands on the podium appears even more formidable than the Mr. Universe competitor. He is motionless for a second or two; he smiles, and wham! He hits an incredible double biceps pose that stills every voice in the auditorium. You could have heard a pin drop, to coin a phrase. He moves his hip to the left side and with the slightest of leg movements gets into the now famous Schwarzenegger side chest pose. Pectorals, deltoids, biceps jump at his command. How could a man so massive possess a waist so small? And the definition! The effect is stupefying. His left arm goes up, the forearm moves towards his head, activating the most incredible biceps on earth. But still the audience is quiet. Arnold turns, displays a back that you wouldn’t believe and strikes stark, teeth-chattering terror into the hearts of those Oliva supporters who were foolhardy enough to turn up in their “Sergio is King” t-shirts. And there’s more punishment in store!
Slowly, with sadistic deliberation, Schwarzenegger raises his six foot four frame until his 240 lbs are balanced on his toes. He appears even more prodigious. Those calves that once inspired so many tactless jokes, that only twelve months before did not rate a second look, now demanded, and received, undivided attention. As if of a mind all their own, they jumped, twitched, stretched and bunched up until the audience could contain itself no longer. Judging by their stunned reaction to Schwarzenegger’s display, it seemed like everyone in the theatre was an Oliva fan who had come to watch the hero wipe out yet another adversary.
But suddenly, Schwarzenegger’s message had been received loud and clear: “I am Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sergio Oliva has met a MAN at last!” The shouting, the vociferous cheers and pleading for more threatened to destroy my hearing and I put my hands protectively over my ears. It had not been easy but now Arnold had convinced the fans he meant to push Sergio to the limit. A smile creased his handsome face as he hit the “most muscular” pose that tore the house up. Then he bowed, and, ignoring the shouts for more, walked off into the near-darkness of the wings.
The audience had now been chanting Sergio’s name for a full five minutes before “The Myth” actually materialized. I remember his oft-repeated declaration: “You gonna see somethin’ but you ain’t gonna believe it.” Land sakes! I rubbed my eyes, desperately trying to focus on that which just couln’t be – but was. Sergio Oliva was greater than ever. He jigged around on the posing platform as if to some hot tune that only he could hear, blew a kiss to his loyal supporters and threw up those arms in that oh-so-typical Sergio fashion. Too much. Forget it! Lay it on me, babe!
Sergio Oliva was actually enjoying the contest. In his own wordless, inimitable style, he was reassuring his audience that “I ain’t gonna let you down, babe.“
Fantastic pose followed mindblowing pose. How can I describe that which my mind still cannot fully accept. The faculties simply do not function when one is under the mesmerizing effect of Sergio’s presence. How many poses did he strike? How should I know. Suffice it to say the fans were crawling all over the stage in their attempt to be near their hero in his hour of need. Then Sergio was gone, leaving those poor judges “bewitched, very bothered and utterly bewildered.”
The two super-champs were then called back to pose on stage; it seems the judges could not make up their minds! And that’s when the fun really started.
“Pose!” someone shouted. But neither Arnold nor Sergio would flex a muscle. Both wanted the other to make the first move. Eventually, Arnold hit the housebreaking double-biceps shot. Sergio retaliated with his arms-above-head pose. Pandemonium! “Sergio! Sergio!” screamed the fans with undisguised bias. A chest pose by Arnold, an attempt at the same shot by Sergio, a last minute change of mind and into his version of the “most muscular” shot. More screams for Sergio. And Arnold just continued smiling. In the end, Sergio retained his Olympia crown.